Russia has doubled down on efforts to undermine the United States military with a campaign of cyber intrusion and disinformation.
Intelligence experts told Politico that Russia has upped its "active measures," including propaganda, disinformation and "kompromat," or compromising information that can be used to blackmail or discredit a political figure. Russian agents target military members on social media, often posing as attractive young women to collect information through personalized phishing attacks.
"The proliferation of internet-based communications and social media applications has elevated the potential for nefarious use that could affect our personnel," Department of Defense spokeswoman Linda Rojas said in an email, adding that the military is working on new ways to counter online operations. "We make every effort to educate and inform DoD personnel of these threats, while bolstering our network defense capabilities to protect IT infrastructure from outside intrusions."
The government-chartered Russian Academy of Sciences publishes the geopolitical journal New Eastern Outlook, which recently began running articles in Veterans Today, an American news site that offers to help veterans find jobs and pay medical bills. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Veterans Today senior editor and chairman of the board Gordon Duff as "a prolific proponent of … anti-Israel conspiracy theories."
Former Army intelligence officer Joel Harding called Veterans Today, along with Veterans News Now and South Front, "Russian proxy sites" that can influence the military.
"Veterans Today and Veterans News Now will not cause soldiers, marines, airmen, or seamen to defect or become pro-Russian, not by themselves," he told Politico. "But if someone regards them as a reliable source of truthful information, does not recognize that they are pushing Russian propaganda or information with a pro-Russian perspective, over time they will change."
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